Best Background Check Services: Build Trust, Reveal History & Reduce Risk

People always present their best selves. When you meet someone new, whether it’s in a work environment, a social environment, or even when it’s someone you already know, there are secrets they may be hiding. And if you were aware of them, you might make different choices about how you interact with them. Conducting an interview for a part-time babysitter recommended by another parent you know, for example, may feel like a pleasant experience; you may feel connected, and like they have the expertise to assist with caring for your child or children. But do you know about their past? Any pending criminal records? How about their job history and education history? Are they being truthful about where they live? Is there a phone number registered to the name that they gave you? Although the Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibits you from using the data found for employment background checks, there are so many questions that without being answered can put you and your family at risk. It’s a sad but true reality that even the people who appear the most trustworthy can have an unsavory past.

The only way for you to make an empowered and well-informed decision about the people you let into your life, especially close to your family, is for you to know all the details about them. Not just your regular Google search that brings up social media profiles and perhaps a long lost blog, but real details like who their business associates are, what their wealth data looks like, and their arrest records, if they have any. You probably have something in your past that you wouldn’t want your employer to know, your boyfriend or girlfriend to know, or even your family to know. Sometimes things are hidden because there’s shame associated with them but sometimes, they’re hidden because people have ulterior motives. It’s the latter that you should be concerned with.

But looking into someone isn’t easy, especially if they are able to trace inquiries about them back to you. You need to be able to look into people confidentially, so they never know that you’ve searched for their information. When you are trying to figure something out because a person’s energy just doesn’t sit right with you, it’s best they do not know that you’re looking into their past. Sometimes you just have an inkling that someone may have a violent history and taking a step to connect with a background check service is necessary and smart. In this article, Green Living shares the best background check services we could find. Each website lets you enter the details you have about the person, and they do the rest of the work, providing you with a host of details regarding their property history, their criminal records, their possible relatives, and even their vehicle information. Sometimes you just have to know and, in those cases, you can use one of the background check services below.

Background Check Companies: The Finalists

  1. Truthfinder – Unlimited Background Checks with Membership
  2. Instant Checkmate – Best Service for Criminal Record Background Checks
  3. Peoplefinders – Individual Background Check Report Purchases
  4. Spokeo – Reputable Background Check Service
  5. Been Verified – Seven Products in One Background Check Service

How Did We Determine The Best Background Check Sites?

We looked for only the best background check services – that means they are easy to navigate and fast with their results. Using a background check service can be a complete godsend and each of these background check services meets the criteria we set below:

  • All the services protect your privacy as that’s an important piece of this background check puzzle. This is especially crucial if you are looking up information about someone who you suspect may be violent.
  • We also created a variety of options for background check services, where you can choose to purchase a single background check report or subscribe to a membership that allows unlimited access to background checks. Good background check sites give you options. 
  • We look for reasonable prices as well. These background check services are affordable and provide you with a lot of value for what you spend.
  • Finally, we listen to verified customer reviews. People who have used a background check service from the list below let us know what they’re like and why we should invest in background reports from these companies. They are forthright, they detail how the services help them, and they comment on the value they got overall. We chose services with a high number of positive reviews.

Our Full Analysis, Research & Final Ratings 

1. Truthfinder – Unlimited Background Checks with Membership 

Pros:

  • Scans hundred of millions of public records
  • Uncovers arrest records and sex offender info
  • Search for anyone you know
  • Reverse phone number look up available 

Cons:

  • Membership required; single reports cannot be purchased 

With Truthfinder, you can find out everything you need to know about the person you’re hiring, dating, or getting unusual calls from at different times during the day. Use their reverse phone lookup to help you find the identity of the person who is listed as the owner of a telephone number. This service provides you with detailed background checks on the individual who owns that phone number. More than just a name, a report from Truthfinder provides you with several pieces of information, including social media profiles, details regarding their employment history and education (though you can’t use this for employment background checks), and even photographs (when available) are included in their report form this background check site.  

You may have noticed that there are some free background check services available online but if you’ve tried them, you know the information is severely limited, leaving you not much further ahead than where you started. The details that Truthfinder brings to your attention require a dive into the deep web, where this kind of data is often stored. For less than what you spend for your favorite latte, you can purchase a complete profile with just a phone number to get the truth about the person texting your lover, the identity of the person you’re buying a used good from online, or the hottie you’ve recently connected with through a dating app.

With Truthfinder, you can also learn about criminal history and arrest records with a full background check. You only need to know the person of interest’s first and last name but if you know the city and state they live in, you can add these additional details as well. When you sign up for a membership, you can pull unlimited background checks. That means you can find out the past of everyone you need to, from your new roommates to your business associates and even your neighbors. When you pull a background check, you’ll be privy to several vital pieces of data that give you insight into the person in question. 

You’ll learn their full name, including any middle name, their date of birth, any known aliases, and possibly photographs. Additionally, you’ll see their jobs and education history and will be provided with a list of their possible relatives. The additional reports on possible relatives can be viewed at no extra cost. Along with possible relatives, the background check also pulls possible associates, which means any business partners, friends, or roommates they may be associated with. 

One of the most surprising aspects of a background check with Truthfinder is the ability to detect possible relationships with the use of an advanced algorithm. You’ll receive a set of links included in their background check which include any news stories, Wikipedia pages, personal websites, blogs, and social media that’s related to the person you’re looking up. You’ll also get their contact information, their location history, and possible neighbors. For your safety, you are provided with their criminal records, sex offender information if there is any, and a list of their assets. It is a comprehensive report that will remove all doubt – whether that means you can continue to trust the person or whether that means you need to create distance to protect yourself and your family. 

Learn more at TruthFinder.com

2. Instant Checkmate – Best Service for Criminal Record Background Checks 

Pros:

  • Obtain civil judgments and police records
  • World class customer service
  • Rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau 
  • Enjoy unlimited searches

Cons:

  • You can’t purchase individual background checks 

Nearly 1.5 billion searches have been conducted on Instant Checkmate and that number keeps growing every day. When you’re short on time, you can skip ahead of the line to gain access to unlimited background checks and instant searches – simply head over to their quick report review, where you enter the information you have to let Instant Checkmate scour data from all of their specialized sources. They quickly provide you with the valuable and sensitive information you’re looking for. 

The person you’re searching will never be alerted that it was you who initiated the search – they are dedicated to protecting your privacy. Every one of your searches is secured with a 128 bit encrypted connection along with verified Norton protection. They do provide a warning for every background check: you should be aware that these reports may contain graphic content and you must first consent before moving forward with your search. 

When you choose to get your background check from Instant Checkmate, you get immediate access to the person’s arrest records, criminal records, any related court documents, their address history, their real age, and any of their known aliases. This information is vital for safety when you suspect someone around you may have a history of violence. The best way to confirm your suspicions is to perform a background check and do so quickly, before any opportunities for violence arise. Check for felony or misdemeanor offenses to grasp a good idea of the person’s criminal background, including incidents like speeding tickets. Protect yourself and your family by finding out if there is a felon, a sex offender, or former inmate in your neighborhood. A quick background check is an empowering report that allows you to keep a watchful eye on your neighbors. 

When you use Instant Checkmate for your background check needs, you get access to exceptional member care. They are available from 7AM to 7PM PST Monday through Friday – when you have questions, reach out using their toll-free number and their friendly representatives will answer your questions, troubleshoot any issues, and help you feel at ease. It’s important that you expose lies and discover truths people in your close circle may be hiding. 

Learn more at InstantCheckMate.com

3. Peoplefinders – Best for Individual Background Check Report Purchases

Pros:

  • Background checks are pulled within seconds
  • Use name, phone, email, or address
  • Bankruptcy and foreclosure information available
  • Individual background checks may be purchased

Cons:

  • For memberships, cancellation must be requested via customer service

It’s not uncommon for people to change their phone numbers but when a number keeps ringing, not leaving voice messages, and not answering “who is this?” texts, you may need to figure out who is trying to get in touch with you. You can use a reverse phone look up to help you identify unknown landlines and cell phone numbers. No matter the time of the day, this service is available to assist you in getting to the bottom of those unusual calls and Peoplefinders’ reports don’t just provide you with a first and last name, they give you the person’s background information as well. You won’t have to wait around for the information to come through – with Peoplefinder, you can expect immediate results. 

If you’re looking to obtain a background check report, Peoplefinders can help with that too. Simply enter the first and last name of the person you’re looking to get more information about, and they do the work. In fact, they make it easy no matter what kind of information you have – you can search by name, phone, email, or address – they make it work with as little or as much information you have. Their comprehensive public records database makes pulling a background check both fast and easy. Their data is proven accurate and is derived from over 42 billion reported public records within the United States. 

When you use this background check site, they deliver a comprehensive report that will give you peace of mind when making your next set of decisions. Use this service to vet babysitters, new love interests, new work acquaintances, and more. You can even use background check companies for yourself to see what kind of data about you is floating around through public records. Entrepreneurs, curious partners, and even amateur genealogists use this service to help them piece together the puzzle of a person, giving them insight they wouldn’t otherwise be able to acquire. 

With just a name, a background check can provide you with contact information, criminal history, bankruptcy information, property records, and every other detail you wouldn’t even think to inquire about. When you enter a name, phone number, or address, Peoplefinder provides you with a list of possible matches – when you find the one that you’re looking for, you are provided with the option to purchase their background check report. To pull the information takes only seconds – you can have all the answers you need on the spot before moving forward with any important decision. 

Learn more at PeopleFinders.com

4. Spokeo – Reputable Background Check Service

Pros:

  • Search by name, email, phone, or address
  • Enterprise capabilities available
  • Obtain basic reports or sign up for a membership
  • Features on Forbes and CNBC 

Cons:

  • Criminal records require an additional fee

With Spokeo, you can know more. Use a name, email, phone number, or address, and start your search right away when you visit their website. Your searches are all confidential – so even if you’re looking up more information about close friends and family, they’ll never know what you know. Easily uncover the identity and location of unknown callers and search social and dating profiles to get the real scoop on what your love interest is up to. Having been featured by media organizations like Forbes and The New York Times, Spokeo has developed an enviable reputation for the way it allows people like you to search through billions of records instantly. 

When you use Spokeo, you gain access to 130 million property records, 6 billion consumer records, 3.9 billion historical records, 600 million court records, 89 million business records, and 120+ social networks – if the person you’re looking up is hiding something, you’re sure to find it with a background check report provided by Spokeo. All of the data is combined into one easy to understand report within seconds, so you can have everything you need at your fingertips, no matter the time of day you decide to dive deep on the life of a single individual. 

When the data is available through public records, you’ll learn the contact information, location history, wealth data, and personal details of the person you’re inquiring about, along with their criminal records and social media accounts. One of the greater benefits of choosing Spokeo for your background check requirements is they keep your reports updated for the lifetime of your Spokeo account – that means their data will refresh and you’ll be provided with additional information as the person makes changes in their life, like moving to a new home, changing their phone number, or if they create a new email address. 

Spokeo can help you stop unwanted calls and text messages; can help you learn about online sellers to prevent scams and can help you get your money back when you buy defective products. They can even help you reconnect with old friends. Whether you’re running a business or just need a background check for a specific person, Spokeo can help you access the information you require easily and with no wait time. 

Learn more at Spokeo.com

5. Been Verified – Seven Products in One Background Check Service

Pros:

  • Over 1 million people helped
  • Unlimited people, property, and vehicle info
  • Seven products in one clever service
  • Committed to your privacy for over a decade

Cons:

  • Some search results may have long waiting times

Been Verified is known as the everyday information company. You can search for unlimited people, vehicles, property, and contact information – it’s been tried and trusted by millions of people like you looking to get the skinny on a specific person or set of people. Users trust Been Verified because it’s like having seven different products compiled into one convenient background check – you have access to reverse phone lookup, email lookup, address history, username search, vehicle lookup, and even unclaimed money! 

You can stay up to date on all the information you need completely confidentially. Whether you’re interested in connecting with loved ones, improving your customer data, working toward building stronger relationships, or even curious about what kind of information is moving through the net about you – Been Verified gives you access to information that puts you in control. They consistently work on improving their data and accuracy scores, which means the longer they’re in business, the more you can trust every piece of information they access and present to you in background checks. 

Learn about a person’s criminal history, access their court records, and even learn about their car history – that means accident and salvage records, values, specs, recalls, and more. You can also discover property details, including deeds, professional values, and assessments. Additional personal details included in background checks are photos, ages, relatives, assets, and associates. And to keep you informed and feeling more secure, they offer a variety of helpful guides and articles, from showing you how to stop robocalls to answering questions like “is Venmo safe?” they keep you in the know for your benefit. 

Learn more at BeenVerified.com


How Long Do Background Checks Take?

When you use one of the background check companies we listed above, you’ll get a background report in as little as a few seconds. Sometimes the nature and scope of the background check requires additional searches that are more involved, and in those occasions, the background check process may take a few business days to complete. However, when you sign up for multiple background checks or request a single report, you’ll still be provided with a wealth of information that is easily accessible across many public databases and more often than not, this information answers your initial questions.

What does a Background Check Show?

Depending on the type of background check service you decide to use, you can gather a lot of information about an individual. Starting with the simplest information, you will gain access to their full name, including their middle name and any other last names and known aliases. You’ll also be provided with their contact information including their address and phone number. As the search runs deeper, you may be provided with a history of different property addresses where their names have been associated. Additionally, you’ll see information about their employment history and their education history. So, you may just find out that your new love interest is not actually from an Ivy League school. That’s one of the simpler lies that people tell, however, a lie upfront usually leads to many lies in the future and it’s wise for you to protect yourself against future heartache if the person you’re seeing is setting off your intuitive spider senses. 

Another important piece of information that you will uncover with a background check is a criminal record or arrest record. This information can also include court records and other available information like whether or not the person you are speaking with or connecting with is on the sex offender registry. While some lies can be almost harmless, lies about a criminal past can be downright dangerous. A background check can also help you reach an online seller, as sometimes people are less than honest about the products they sell and try to disappear after taking your money for damaged goods. With the background check, you can find them and get your money back. Similarly, when you’re purchasing a vehicle from another person, they could have lied about the condition of the car, leaving you with a lemon. With a background check you can learn about the true condition of the car and make sure you get what you’re paying for.

Background checks are also favorites for people who suspect their partners may be cheating. You can get access to different social media profiles created by this person that you may not be aware of, and you can also look into dating profiles that they may have created without you knowing. Although uncovering these truths can be painful, when you feel it’s necessary to know, background checks are a great tool to help you empower yourself with knowledge and make a decision that validates your worth. Each service has slight differences, so it’s important that you look at what they offer and choose a service that best matches up with providing the kind of information you’re looking for.

Where Was the Data Collected? 

Though you might think there’s one central database that contains all of this information, that’s actually not the case. Background check sites get their information through hundreds of different databases and records that are made public. These services have created intelligent algorithms to quickly search and scan through these many databases so they can quickly compile a comprehensive and well formatted report for your eyes.

Conclusion

An important note when considering one of these background check companies is that according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the background checks pulled from any one of these services cannot be utilized for tenant screening or employment background checks. Background check services are fantastic for protecting yourself and your family and also for connecting with long lost friends. You can also use one of these best background check services to keep track of your own information and quickly identify when there is erroneous reporting about your past. So long as you understand the purposes and also the limitations of these types of background checks – those that pull from public data, you can make great use of the best background check services and move forward confidently, knowing more than they think you do.

This article has been supplied by a paid advertiser. Content has not been independently verified by Los Angeles magazine.